I Want to Hate Something, Anything, as Much as Film School Kids Hate Tarantino

Look, I get it. After you realized he was paying homage to so many (mostly) terrible genre films you went back and watched them all and saw them in a new way. The way you viewed them, in confused retrospect, proved that it is Tarantino who is the hack and you who is the genius.

You wrote many papers about it. It’s possible they weren’t bad.

Now you’ve graduated film school and you’re out in the real world and everyone loves Tarantino because they didn’t attend film school. What’s your favorite Tarantino film? is all you keep over hearing at bars and on trains and planes. Occasionally you get asked this by Uber drivers when you mention you went to film school.

It takes everything in you not to rip these Philistines to shreds with your film school knowledge.

“You idiots haven’t even seen Lady Snowblood, have you?”

“No, it’s definitely HUNDREDS of films he’s stealing from!”

You smoke and squeeze a stress ball and watch the “Inglorious Bastards” press conference at Cannes over and over again where he talks about not knowing why he made a certain editing decision and compares himself to Rembrandt. You slam down and break your coffee mug with “Director” stamped on it and weep. 

You join a local movie club, attend the first meeting, but lose it when the discussion turns to Tarantino, saying, “If anyone mentions the words ‘camera-pen’ and ‘Tarantino’ in the same sentence, I’m out of here, man.” Someone does, and you leave. 

You scour the internet for lost first-person accounts claiming Oliver Stone actually kicked Tarantino’s ass in that bar fight. You claim to anyone who will listen that “Natural Born Killers” is better than any film Tarantino ever made, and that Stone didn’t use anything Tarantino wrote. You attempt to fight people in bars over this. No one wants to fight you. 

You make people watch “City on Fire” at parties and won’t let them escape, pointing out every miniscule connection to “Reservoir Dogs.” Once, a first-year film student challenges that the Mexican standoff from “City on Fire” is stolen from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” You storm outside and stand on a balcony and smoke, cursing yourself for not thinking of that.

You take a whoopie cushion to “The Hateful Eight” 70 mm premiere at the biggest movie theater in the city and sit on it during the intermission. No one laughs, but that’s what you expected. They like Tarantino.  

Eventually you find a woman willing to deal with the endless vitriol you spew about Tarantino, your constant babbling about foot-candles and your insistence on lamenting how no one makes films like “Rome, Open City” anymore.

You go on dates across town, none of which are to the movies. She actively tries to keep you outside in parks or on hikes or on bicycles, so you’ll shut up about the tragic decline of Italian Neorealism. She realizes the bicycle was a bad idea when you start to clamor on about “The Bicycle Thief.”

“It’s… It’s… the perfect film!” you exclaim before tossing the rented city bicycle into a river for effect.

She stands, head tilted, hand on hip, and it reminds you of an actress from a film you can’t place.

You’ve fallen in love.

After what seems like fifty first dates, she invites you to her apartment out in the suburbs in a quiet neighborhood near a park. You ascend six flights of stairs and are winded. When she opens the door there’s a diabolical smile on her face, but you think it’s a good thing.

When you step inside it’s like that scene from “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” when Ace enters Cadby’s lovely room of death with all the taxidermy animal busts, except the walls are covered in Tarantino posters. She’s got every single one. Not just that, toys and collector’s editions and t-shirts and movie props, tickets to all the Tarantino movies she saw in theaters magneted to the fridge.

It dawns on you that she’s dressed like Uma Thurman from “Pulp Fiction” and even has a drip of blood coming from her nose and you’re pretty damn sure it isn’t Halloween, so you’re freaking.   

“What the fuck is happening here?” you hear yourself say.

“Don’t be a square,” she says and makes the motion like in the movie.

Then she holds up a remote and flips on the music that plays in “Inglorious Bastards” when the Bear Jew is being summoned from the cave to baseball bat a Nazi to death.

A rumbling emanates from the back bedroom. Something or someone is beating against a door or the wall. The doorknob jiggles. She starts to dance and that’s when you lose it and back out of the door and sprint down the six flights of stairs and across the park and out into the suburbs screaming, “I hate you, Quentin!” at the top of your lungs.

Wilson Koewing holds a B.A. in film from the film school at The University of New Orleans. He holds an MFA in screenwriting from the same institution. 

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